Dean Russell spoke in the Commons today to thank New Hope and One YMCA for their work in reducing homelessness in Watford.
Watford’s MP has worked closely with both organisations and the council since the start of the pandemic to help tackle homelessness in the town and was delighted to read that there have been no reports of people sleeping rough in Watford in recent weeks.
Earlier this year it was announced that ONE YMCA will receive government funding of £2.2 million to help fund the creation of 34 new rooms for rough sleeps, as well as rehabilitation space at their Charter House hostel.
In 2020 it was announced that Watford Borough Council will receive an additional £1.65 million from the Government for local schemes that provide secure ‘move on’ style accommodation for people at risk of sleeping on the streets.
Mr Russell said: “I’d like to sincerely thank everybody that has been involved in getting people off our streets and into safe accommodation. Since being elected one of my priorities has been lobbying Government for additional funding to tackle homelessness and to help deliver brighter futures for those that have been sleeping rough.
“If we are to deliver on the promise we made in our manifesto to end rough sleeping by the end of this Parliament, then the people who have been helped need access to long-term housing that gives them security so that they can focus on rebuilding their lives.
I am delighted that The Housing Secretary acknowledged the incredible work happening in Watford following the news that zero rough sleepers were recorded on the count, in what he described as an incredible step forward. Nevertheless, we must continue to work to ensure that this becomes the norm.”
Dean Russell: We recently announced that across my constituency of Watford, for a period of time we had no rough sleepers on our streets. I thank my right hon. Friend and his team for their support in helping to secure more than £4 million, for which I lobbied, to be received by charities and our local council to tackle homelessness in Watford. Will he join me in thanking our incredible local charities, including New Hope and One YMCA, for their tireless efforts over many years, and continuing today, to end homelessness and to transform lives for the better?
Robert Jenrick: I am only too happy to praise the local organisations in my hon. Friend’s constituency, such as New Hope and One YMCA. As I said earlier, those who work on the frontline of tackling rough sleeping—support workers, volunteers in soup kitchens, local council staff and those working in many other spheres—are incredibly brave, courageous people who are doing great and noble work, which often goes unnoticed. They deserve our respect and recognition today, as we see the fruits of their hard work in the statistics that have been published.
My hon. Friend’s constituency is one of a number that have recently reported zero rough sleepers. I named some others in my statement, such as Ashford and Basingstoke, where people had been sleeping rough but the latest count recorded none at all. That is an incredible step forward. I praise those parts of the country and I expect more to follow suit in the years ahead.